The Mets true magic number is 90… wins

Daniel Murphy, Anthony Recker, Michael Cuddyer, Jeurys Familia, David Wright

Rich MacLeodEach and every day, the Mets inch closer and closer to their biggest accomplishment in nearly a decade: Postseason baseball.

In 19 of the last 23 days, the Mets magic number has reduced by a game or more and, as of Monday morning, it stands at 28.

While people are focusing on that number, and rightly so, the real “magic number,” so to speak, here, is 90… 90 wins, that is.

The path to 90 victories is right there for the Mets, and what once seemed like a joke of a proclamation one season prior is now in reach in 2015. All this team has to do to get there is to go 18-14 in their final 32 games this season, and with baseball’s easiest remaining schedule and just three series left vs. teams over .500, it’s absolutely doable to get to at least 90.

If this team can indeed get to that mark, the second place Nationals would have to finish with a record of 24-9 just to tie them in the division standings. While they have baseball’s second easiest schedule in the final month-plus this season, this would still be quite the turnaround for this club.

During the Nationals best month of the season, they went 18-9 in the month of May, still five wins shy of what they’d need to do to tie the Mets in the standings in this 90-win scenario. The Nationals haven’t come all that close to replicating the success they saw in May, as their next best month this season was in June when Washington went 15-12–every other month this season, they’ve had a sub-500 record.

To replicate their May success (and do even better than they did that month), it’s going to take a lot from the Nationals. That month, Max Scherzer went 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA. Since the All-Star break, Scherzer is 1-4 with a 5.09 ERA and is 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in this past month.

Back in May it seemed as if the rising star that is Bryce Harper was hitting a home run every other day–he hit 13 long balls that month to be exact. While Harper remains as one of baseball’s premiere young stars, as he’s still hitting .331/.457/.629 overall this season, teams haven’t been pitching to him as much, and it’s shown in his production. After blasting 26 home runs with 61 RBI in the first half of the season, Harper has just five home runs and 15 RBI since the All-Star break.

The Nationals best pitcher of late has been Stephen Strasburg, who’s 3-1 record and 1.73 ERA lead the team in the second half. Strasburg, however, has made just four starts since the break, and after leaving in the 4th inning of Sunday’s start against the Marlins with upper back discomfort, and if it winds up being serious, there’s a possibility that Strasburg could wind up on the disabled list for the third time in 2015.

The Mets, not the Nationals, are the team that’s playing their best baseball right now. Even in this past week as Washington has won three consecutive series’, they’ve made up just a single game on the Mets in the standings. At this rate, the Nationals are likely going to have to sweep the Mets in their next match-up just to make this thing close, because even winning two out of three makes up just one game in the division standings.

Everything is ahead of the Mets right now–the road is there. If this team can take care of their own business over the last 32 games of the season, it may not even matter what the Nationals do.

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